Hundreds of 1970s Ballard photos added to Seattle Municipal Archives

Update: Um, it seems we’ve crashed the Municipal Archives site with all the traffic. So you may have a little trouble clicking the links below for a bit.

Earlier: If you’re like us, you love Ballard history. So when Seattle City Photo Archivist Julie Irick told us about 738 new Ballard photos from the 1970s — including businesses, houses and landmarks in high resolution — we were thrilled. And it’s all available online.

For example, where’s the photo above? What’s in that building now? Before we give you the answer and share more of our favorite photos, here’s a little background.

The photos are divided into two collections. The first batch of 502 black-and-white photos were taken by volunteers working with the Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority “to create a visual inventory of urban design, historical, and architectural elements that give Seattle ‘its unique character and identity,'” Irick explains. Most of the photos are labeled with an address, including quite a few houses — if you’re lucky enough to find your own home.

The second batch of 236 color photos features “clearly identified addresses of homes and businesses captured between 1974 and 1980,” Irick said. It includes photos of Old Ballard, Salmon Bay, the Ballard Locks and even the 5th of May parade from 1975. Some of these photos, thanks to a grant from 4Culture, are included in this online exhibit about the Ship Canal.

Ok, now to a few of our favorites. If you see something of note while browsing the collections, please leave it in comments below.

The image at the top of this story is The International Schooner at 5213 Ballard Avenue NW in 1975. Today it is… The Tractor Tavern.


This is the Starlight Hotel at Ballard Avenue NW & Vernon Place NW, 1975. (And formerly the Scandinavian American Bank/Canal Bank.) Now it’s the Ballard Inn.


The Scandinavian Værsgo restaurant on the corner of NW Market St. and 22nd Ave. NW. in 1975. Today there’s a Starbucks in that spot. (Anyone know what’s on top of the building? Antennas?)

Olsen Furniture at 5354 Ballard Avenue NW, 1975. This is now Ballard Consignment.


E. Obermaier Machine Works at 5307 Ballard Avenue NW, 1975. Now it’s home to Bastille.


Ballard Ave NW and 20th Ave. NW, 1975. This is now Monster Art, Clothing and Gifts (left side).


Ballard Hardware at 5225 Ballard Avenue NW., 1975. It’s still in business today a short distance away. And what’s in the building now? Kings Hardware on the left, Rudy’s Barbershop on the right. And see that sign in the far right of the photo? That’s Hattie’s Hat.


Ballard Elks at 5301 Leary Ave. NW, 1975. They’ve since moved to a new location on Seaview Ave. But what’s in this spot now? The Olympic Athletic Club.


Here’s a fun one: Ballard Celebrates Norwegian Constitution Day on May 17th, 1975

We’re going to keep adding photos as we find new ones. If you find some gems, please let us know in comments below…

18 comments on “Hundreds of 1970s Ballard photos added to Seattle Municipal Archives”

  1. Those aren’t antennas on top of the Ballard Building. They are the supports for the former neon sign for Washington Mutual.

  2. Man, that sign looks like it was gigantic and probably quite an eyesore.

    Sometimes change is good

  3. I remember everyone of those photos. I remember going to JC Pennys, and Woolworths on Market street. Kresses, Phil’s Jewelry, use to be on 22nd and Market. There use to be an IceCream parlor where supercuts is now. Thats when Ballard was a great community, instead of being over ran by these awful comdo’s and apartments.

  4. Geeky Swedes – I’ve never heard of a 5th of May parade. Perhaps you meant Ballard’s annual Syttende Mai parade? But as Swedes I’m sure the celebration of the creation of a (mostly) autonomous Norway isn’t something you care to remember. ;-)

  5. Thank you for posting some photos that aren’t 100 years old. Finally we can see some photos of places that the living can remember. Here’s a couple more to add to TJ’s list:
    Dairy Queen where Scooters is now. Wig Wam where JoAnn’s Fabric is now.
    I’m sure Ballard Old Fart can come up with a few more too.
    Let’s share memories!

  6. How about the old ice arena on shilshoe, and there used to be two movie theaters, and my favorite was when they tore down the gas station at 77 & 15 but left the cigarette vending machine standing all by itself – i think they even refilled it. Kools were 35 cents. those were the days!

  7. Also notice that the streets were dead, and there were only one or two shoppers to be seen – and not a single car on the road.

  8. Ballard was a great community to grow up in throughout the fifties and sixties! We walked about 2 miles on Saturday’s, spending time at the Ballard Carnegie Library (loved the creeky floors) still in original location but now an antique store? Also frequented the Ballard Theatre where Marie Miller had her Dance Recitals;
    Kress, JC Penny, Bay Theatre (yes there were two Movie Theatres in two blocks!). Purchased Scandinavian foods at Johnson’s on Market St., lunch at the Scandinavian Retaurant on the corner, now a Middle East Restaurant, bowling leagues at Sunset Bowl, Denny’s on corner of 15th and Market St.
    So sad to see all the condos that have invaded Ballard!

  9. “So sad to see all the condos that have invaded Ballard!”

    Guess what, the Duwamish probably hated seeing your grandparents invade too. At least we bought our homes and didn’t steal them.

  10. I’m triggered by the lack of diversity in these photos. That parade pic is full of disgusting hetero-normative patriotism (fascists!) and those stores all cater to a few ethnic groups without any purple hair in sight. Please remove immediately. We’ve already complained about the Leif Erikson statue at the Hall that encroaches on precious homeless transitional campground space. We will be notifying Kshama and Sally about this, Geeky Swedes!

    Uff da? Is that some kind of fascist slogan?
    #safespaces #inclusivity #meatballsaremurder

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